Chinese firm innovatively promotes environmental protection

Xinhua Published: 2017-12-05 00:02:08
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A Chinese mobile phone user plays the "Ant Forest" game of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's Ant Financial on his smartphone in Shanghai, China, March 13, 2017. [Photo: IC]

A Chinese mobile phone user plays the "Ant Forest" game of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's Ant Financial on his smartphone in Shanghai, China, March 13, 2017. [Photo: IC]

Chinese firm Ant Financial is taking advantage of technological breakthroughs and innovatively promoting environment protection.

The mobile internet financial services firm, which is part of the Alibaba group, has developed a mobile app known as the Ant Forest that encourages its users to take low carbon actions.

Ant Forest General Manager Xu Di told Xinhua in Nairobi that the app, which was launched in August 2016, has enrolled 230 million regular users who have incorporated green lifestyles in their daily activities.

"Our objective is to support government efforts in promoting environmental protection," Xu said during the Third Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3) underway in Nairobi.

Users of the app are given a virtual seedling and by engaging in low carbon activities are able to transform the seedling into a virtual tree.

Thereafter, Ant Forest through its partners plants a real tree for every virtual tree produced. Xu said that so far they have planted more than 10 million trees in the Alashan Desert in China.

The innovation also enables its users to grow their trees by using public transportation instead of personal vehicles or conducting online transactions that eliminate the need of printing on paper.

Xu said the app is revolutionary as it takes a bottom up approach to environmental conservation by enabling members of public to play an active role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

He added that most people and especially the youth, would like to conserve the environment but usually don't have a convenient avenue to do so.

"So we are leveraging on technology to rope in as many people as possible to fight climate change," he said.

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